News ID: 239463
Published: 0318 GMT February 26, 2019

UN conference for Yemen seeks funds for $4b target in 2019

UN conference for Yemen seeks funds for $4b target in 2019
Mohammed Huwais/AFP/Getty Images

The United Nations opened a third pledging conference Tuesday in hopes of drumming up $4 billion this year for Yemen, a war-battered country facing the world's worst humanitarian crisis — and where some major donors were also involved in the conflict.

Host UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres lamented "an overwhelming humanitarian catastrophe" where some 24 million people, or four-fifths of Yemen's total population, require aid and protection, AP reported.

"Twenty million people cannot reliably feed themselves or their families," he said in Geneva, where the meeting is taking place. "Almost 10 million are just one step away from famine."

UN officials said they are running out of money in a country also facing a devastated health care system, a lack of jobs, continued fighting and fallout from the world's worst cholera epidemic in 2017.

The world body's "Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen" in 2019 seeks $4 billion to reach 15 million people across the country, after raising nearly $2.6 billion last year.

Two of the biggest donors, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, launched a devastating war on Yemen in 2015, killing over 15,000 civilians and sparked a cholera epidemic and humanitarian crisis.

The Western-backed coalition supports the former Yemeni government against Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement.

They have waged an extensive air campaign, imposed air, sea, and land embargoes and tightened access to the country by shutting down its main airport in Sana’a.

The country’s economy has been brought to its knees by restrictions placed by the Saudi-backed former government for deliveries of imports.

The air campaign and ground battles have killed over 60,000 civilians and combatants, displaced some 3 million people, and pushed the country to the brink of famine. Save the Children has estimated that more than 80,000 children under 5 have died of hunger or disease.


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